The Chongqing Steelworks was part of Chairman Mao’s strategic network to improve China’s industrial output. A ‘grand stair’ was designed and built for his visit and this artefact sits alongside other relics of the steelworks, including a steam engine from Sheffield!
The retention of these historic remnants is vital for this significant regeneration project, which draws on modern planning concepts and contemporary design aspirations whilst promoting industrial regeneration and the retention of important Chinese heritage. The new urban landmark will become a benchmark for innovative food, beverage and hospitality industry in China and presents a new tourist and leisure destination and a unique, mixed use place for the local community.
The aim is to create a hybrid mix of new and old buildings and a variety of uses. Keeping and restoring much of the industrial symbols and heritage associated with the Baowu Steel Group will celebrate Chinese industry and architecture and provide a fantastic new commercial centre for Chongqing. Across the site, many historical, industrial objects are preserved as touchstones to the past. Retaining the unique feel of structural language and strong forms of culture is so important.
An entrance plaza to the north will connect to Gong Bo Zhong Lu, framed by two new buildings – a hotel and a large commercial office – which will become the new south west headquarters for Baowu Group. A lattice of external and internal courtyards and alleyways link the entire site together, enhancing pedestrian permeability and connecting new commercial uses into the existing museums and old industrial units.
The new 150 room hotel will retain existing structures and facades and aims to be a centre of calm and contemplation with a strong sense of place, a new destination for residents and visitors to the city. The new 40,000 sqm 20-storey office building will offer riverside views from all floors, with terraces that frame the dramatic rooftop steelworks and river view.
The choice of materials continues the theme of reflecting the history of the site. Aluminium and glass are juxtaposed with traditional cladding materials such as brick tiles and COR-TEN weathering steel to represent the heritage of the factory and the materials it once produced.
At the centre of the new steelworks will be a digitally connected food and beverage offering, set within the fabric of the industrial structure. It creates a unique atmosphere for visitors, sheltered under the large span roof which provides shade and shelter for diners throughout the day and night.